The Luxe List 2009, Turkey: Park Hyatt Istanbul, Maçka Palas, Istanbul

Set on the fringe of the fashionable Nisantasi neighborhood, the Maçka Palas was originally designed by Italian Guilio Mongeri in 1922 as a residence for the neighboring Italian embassy. The plan fell by the wayside the following year when the capital of Turkey was moved to its present-day location, Ankara. Gutted and refurbished with beige and mother-of-pearl trimmings, the Art Deco building has been reinvented as the Park Hyatt Istanbul. Soft and elegant during the day, tinged with French perfumer Blaise Mautin’s signature scent, the soaring sky-lit lobby is transformed into an impromptu jazz bar at night, setting the scene for aperitifs before dinner in the macho steakhouse, The Prime. But it’s the 90 guest rooms that shine here, distinguished by 1930s-style furniture, polished limestone and walnut bathrooms, and black-and-white prints by Turkish photojournalist Ara Guler. Book a spa room and you can even enjoy in-room scrubs and massages in a private hammam (Tesvikiye, Bronz Sokak; 90-212/315-1234;; doubles from US$390).

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